Stardock Updating Impulse, Rolling Out Ready-to-PlayS

Even if you're a Steam loyalist, PC gamers, you've got to admit it's nice to have options. But Stardock's digital distribution service, Impulse, and its latest update aim to provide more than just competition.

Phase IV of Impulse rolls out a new service called Ready-to-Play that functions as a sort of Facebook for PC gamers. The client allows you to create a buddy list and interact with said buddies like a messenger. It also allows you to create a profile that broadcasts to other PC gamers with similar interests and gaming styles what you're playing so that you can make more buddies and never not have someone to game with.

The idea, says Stardock President & CEO Brad Wardell explained that the idea behind Ready-to-Play is to streamline the matchmaking process. While the client won't dump you into a lobby, it will create a social network that lowers the risk of entering into a multiplayer match with gamers you don't know who could potentially be griefers or foul-mouthed 13-year-olds.

Other updates to Phase IV include a cosmetic makeover, a new website and the ability to download games and software on the service without actually using the client. Ultimately, Wardell said, Stardock's goal with Impulse was to create a concept of ownership with PC games similar to what you get with console games. Like, you could buy a game on Impulse, and then turn around and sell it on Impulse when you're done with it.

Doesn't sound like they're quite there yet, but between Ready-to-Play and the PC Gamer's Bill of Rights unveiled last year at the Penny Arcade Expo, Stardock is definitely doing more than just trying to keep up with Steam.

You can get your hands on a Ready-to-Play beta code at PAX this September.